"I'm definitely ready for the first bullpen," Hamels said.
Hamels said he was cleared to lift weights again about a week ago. He had not lifted weights since Nov. 18 and admitted that was difficult.
"Every offseason, I lifted all year, five days a week," he said. "So to not be able to do it, you lose a lot, with the balance of trying to do everything with your body. You just don't want to be only strong on your left side. Everything has been that slow progression, and now I feel like my body is capable of making big jumps."
If all goes according to plan, Hamels should be able to appear in his first spring-training exhibition game during the second week of March and be ready for his regular-season debut about the second week of April. He would not put a date on either appearance, but said he was confident that the soreness that shut him down for all of December was gone.
"I know right now I'm happy with where I am," he said. "I know I'm going to have the big strides and getting used to pitching up and down and mixing in bullpens. There's a different intensity, different soreness comes up, but I feel comfortable that nothing is painful. It's just the soreness of throwing a baseball . . . so I think that's better."
Manager Ryne Sandberg said he plans to be aggressive in using replay challenges this season and that he's eager for the spring-training trial run for replay. He said he expects to get five chances to test the new system during televised Grapefruit League games. . . . The Phillies will have a short workout Monday before playing the annual Bill Giles golf tournament, then will play an intrasquad game Tuesday at noon. Pitching coach Bob McClure said Jesse Biddle, Ethan Martin, and David Buchanan would likely pitch two innings each, with Ken Giles, Justin DeFratus, Luis Garcia, Jeremy Horst, Cesar Jimenez, and Shawn Camp all pitching an inning of relief. The Phillies open their Grapefruit League schedule Wednesday at Bright House Field against Toronto.